Rural households’ social capital and welfare: A case study of Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Lloyd James Segun Baiyegunhi


In a household or nations production system, social capital has been recognized as an input having major implications for project design as well as policy development. Using a structured questionnaire, household level data was obtained from a representative sample of 300 rural households in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal. This study employed the conventional household economic behaviour model under constrained utility maximisation to examine the effect of social capital on the welfare of household, testing the hypothesis that the possession of social capital improves household welfare. The result shows that social capital endowments have a statistically significant positive effect on household welfare, in addition to the some household’s demographic and socio-economic characteristics. The study concluded that, access to social capital among other factors, is very crucial for improved rural household welfare and poverty reduction. It is therefore important for government to have knowledge of existing social groups and networks as this will improve the effectiveness of the present strategies aimed at reducing poverty.


social capital; welfare; rural households; economic behaviour; utility maximization

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